10 Questions With…Patty & Keith Withycombe

Arizona Humane Society Capital Campaign Cabinet Co-Chairs

What brought you to Arizona?

PATTY:We moved to Arizona in 1972 from Ohio, where Keith was stationed as an Air Force officer. We were married in Arizona and loved the state and Phoenix — so much opportunity for a young couple!  

How did you get involved with the Arizona Humane Society?

PATTY: Almost 25 years ago, I worked on a fundraiser for AHS. I have been involved in one way or another ever since. I have chaired several of our signature Compassion with Fashion events, served on AHS’s board of directors for nine years and helped to establish the President’s Advisory Council.  

Why are animals so important to you?

KEITH:We have always loved animals. We both had pets growing up.  

PATTY: Keith and I have been married for 53 years and have never been without multiple family pets. Currently, we have two horses and three dogs. Our son has a dog and our daughter has three dogs, two rabbits and chickens. Both grandkids, even at just 5 and 8 years old, are riding. Our family get-togethers are always a lot of fun.

You’re currently helping to raise funds for the new AHS Papago Park Campus. Tell us about that.

KEITH:We want to do what we can to help AHS raise money to build this transformative and much-needed facility. We feel very blessed to have the resources to help and are committed to sharing our blessings with fundraising for animal welfare, education and healthcare. The team at AHS and the campaign cabinet are so wonderful; it makes this undertaking a lot of fun.

How will it help improve care for unwanted and suffering animals in Arizona?

PATTY:AHS does so much for the Valley’s most vulnerable pets — the sick, injured and abused homeless pets — in the Valley. And they do most of it in a patchwork facility that is over 60 years old. The capacity for care can increase immensely with increased space, new equipment, easy Valley-wide access and innovative design to maximize safety and medical treatment for our furry friends.  

The project will take more than $46 million to complete. How are you helping to raise the funds?

KEITH: Besides our financial commitment to this project, we have and continue to reach out to our contacts in hope of generating the same enthusiasm for the AHS mission that we feel. We have made ourselves available to host, co-host or just attend many of the fundraising events. We want to be good ambassadors for AHS to encourage more people to become involved in serving the Valley’s pet community.

Patty, you’re a member of the President’s Advisory Council. Tell us how that group has helped to fuel this project.

PATTY: I was fortunate to be a founding member of the President’s Advisory Council five years ago, along with Daryl Weil, Cindy Watts and Joette Schmidt. We had all been involved with various fundraising activities for other organizations. Our primary purpose was to brainstorm with Dr. Hansen and the amazing AHS team as they began their initial preparations for this enormous project.  

Keith, you join Patty as a member of AHS’s Capital Campaign Cabinet. Can you talk about those efforts?

KEITH: I was in a support role to Patty’s involvement in AHS until I rescued an older lost dog in our neighborhood. I took him to another animal shelter in the Valley and they weren’t able to help or adopt him to a new family. He was a very sweet dog, and I’m still haunted by the thought he might have been euthanized. That’s when I became an active volunteer at AHS. I am thankful to be part of an organization that doesn’t euthanize pets due to space or the length of time they are with AHS.

Do you have any pets, past or present, that this work is dedicated to?

PATTY: Our pets are dearly loved and cared for. If we were to dedicate this mission to any pet, it would be those in need of a loving forever home. It’s not an understatement to say that our dogs are our best friends. We wish that for all homeless animals.  

Why is this new medical center so crucial for Arizona?

PATTY: Phoenix is now the fifth-largest city in the U.S. Along with all those people are wanted and unwanted pets. As a community, we should strive to build a better solution for the housing and care of these animals. Since Dr. Hansen has been at the helm at AHS, we have improved the quality of life for pets in our community and reduced unnecessary euthanasia by 82 percent. As our community continues to grow and thrive, so should our ability to care for pets who have nowhere else to turn. Our new medical complex, and the Papago Park Campus as a whole, is truly the final transformation in taking Maricopa County from one of the worst places to be a homeless pet, to one of the best. 

KEITH: If you love animals, don’t sit back and hope things will get better. Take action … volunteer, adopt, foster and give what you can to help us build this much-needed facility. You will feel great having contributed to the solution.

To learn more, go to azhumane.org

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